Random Writing Challenge; 60 Word Stories; Can you keep it short and sweet?

Keeping it Brief

Lita Sorensen recently posted a random poetry challenge here on hub-pages, and being very keen on poetry, I decided to try my hand. I’ve written several, and posted some of them, and I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed taking part. With poetry you can say a great deal in just a few words, which suits minimalist writers like myself. Your reader is likely to get to the end and actually digest the full substance, and a satisfying experience is had by all.

 So, fresh from that particular challenge I have another to lay down before you gifted and talented hubbers out there. The sixty word story challenge. Yes, that’s right. You have up to sixty words to write your tale in. It must have a beginning, a middle and an end. It can be funny, romantic, up-beat or tragic, but it must be satisfying to read.

Just to get you rolling on this, I’ve penned a few of my own:

 

Dinner time

Stanley and Freddy looked up eagerly as Julie brought their plates in. Would it be that wonderful Chicken Chow today, or the tasty beef in gravy? Maybe it would be venison, or perhaps even duck! Stanley sniffed the air appreciatively while Freddy panted in anticipation. Meal-times had been great since Julie discovered that new range of dog food!

 

 The Old House

 Jim and Milly felt sad as they sat in the house for the last time. There were so many memories here. Jim had decorated it. Milly had made cushions and curtains. It was so homely. ‘Seems a shame to take it down’ Jim said as he descended the ladder, ‘But the new tree-house will be much better.’

 

Musical Interlude

Their eyes met, and there was an instant attraction. They talked. They laughed. It was all going so well until they started the karaoke machine, but Betty knew it was over as soon as he started to sing. ‘If music be the food of love,’ she explained pulling her coat on, ‘I think I’d rather eat somewhere else!’

 

I hope you have fun with this, and I will post more of my own as and when I get the inspiration.

 

 

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Comments 87 comments

Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi Thelma! Amanda, I mean Amanda! Laugh! I'm SO into this one! I'm used to 100 word stories but will GLADLY adapt to 60! Count me in and thanks for posting this cute challenge!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Elena, or should I say Louise! I look forward to seeing some great works of literature here!


Laurie Harley 7 years ago

Amanda, i'm in. Hmmm... 60 words? I don't know if i can keep it that short, but i've always enjoyed a challenge!


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

I looked, I thought and I said maybe. (8 words)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Laurie and Brian,

How hard can it be? I look forward to your stories!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

She slammed her fist on the cherry table, blue eyes ablaze.  My adorable baby girl, grown into a woman of substance.  "I am so angry at you and Daddy," she shouted. 

"Whatever for?" I gasped.

"Daddy doesn't take care of himself and you are nearly bankrupt!  I can see my future already:  Daddy dead and you, stuck at my house!"


Laurie Harley 7 years ago

Wow, Storytellersrus... that is very deep for only 60 words. I'm impressed!


Leta S 7 years ago

Cool idea Amanda! The technical term is "Flash Fiction." There's kinda a following for it. Wow--with this brief of prose, even I can join in. :)


Laurie Harley 7 years ago

Ok... here's my attempt. I've written longer comments than this! http://hubpages.com/hub/60-word-challenge


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

Hey! Y'Know you could earn three cents each for these at Amazon Mechanical Turk if you just find the right requester! ;)


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Neat idea; I doubt I can do this one at all. . . I just read Laurie's, too, and hers is excellent. You're on to something, here!


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

ok, hope I don't get into trouble for this one, but here's 60 words:

Would it be too indiscreet, she wondered, to mention that I think it's a wig? Should I just pretend I think it's real? What manner of man would put such a pile of old rats' tails on his head?

She noticed another comment in the Hubber's thread-wars on politics; NickNY## was lambasting liberals again.

It's definitely a wig, she decided.


Leta S 7 years ago

I'm just lurking about today, :) Teresa, you are wicked.


poetryman69 profile image

poetryman69 7 years ago from Orlando

most of the time I try not think about how there's a level below this one and a level below that. I just give some money to world vision and keep on keeping on. I saw a post about poverty and that got me to thinking of what it might be like if you actually lived on one of those lower levels:

she awoke in garbage.She drew her dignity about herself like a veiland roused her daughter and her sonand as a family they went in search of cleanest water they could findto wash the world off and begin again.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Teresa, very wicked, but very funny! Yeah, definitely a wig!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Storytellersrus-

That's brilliant! The poor old ageing mum, the father in poor shape, and a daughter who knows she's going to get lumbered! And all in 60 words!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Justmesuzanne

3 cents each, you say? Well I guess it's more than I get from adsense on an average day (LOL!)

Hi Lita,

I'd not heard the term Flash Fiction before. We used to have a magazine here in the UK that printed two or three of these each week and paid £25 a piece. I sold a couple to them at the time (about five years ago) but sadly they stopped running them.


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I laughed at the karaoke story, and didn't know the technical term "Flash Fiction" as Lita pointed out.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Flash Fiction, Nano Novels, Six Word Novels, the 100 Word project... They all have a good following, myself included :-)

Amanda, I'm gonna be in a biz trip the next few days, don't think I've deserted the challenge even before starting! I'll come back with a few stories to add to the great ones that have already been posted :-)


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Amanda- You did manage to keep it to 60 words which I doubt whether I can achieve it. And also you did a great job. Keep it up and thumbs up.


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

I'll think about it.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Short and sweet may be the way for me to start...hummm I am gonna try...Good Idea sweetie...G-Ma :o) hugs & Peace


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Amazing, I went to bed, then woke up to loads of comments! Thank you everybody!

Hi Violetsun, Country Woman, CWB and G-Ma

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to your stories.

Hi Elena

Have fun in Dublin. Don't work too hard, and see you soon!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Hi Amanda I have never heard of this before but am going to have a go.....thanks


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Ajcor,

You're great at stories, so I expect you'll have no trouble with this!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Amanda, this is such a fantastic idea! I looked for this hub yesterday, I didn't know who wrote it, but I couldn't find it. I'm so glad it's back up in hubtivity!

I'd love to give this a whirl, but I'll have to go give it some thought. :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Pam,

I love the discipline of sticking to 60 words. It's a bit tricky, but it suits people like me who have butterfly brains and short attention spans! (LOL!)


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Okay Amanda, this was really hard and I didn't realize what a wordy person I am! lol! I must warn you, this is a dark one:

You bastard. What a paranoid monster you are asking stupid questions, trying to control everyone around you. Clueless, irritating, abusive, crazy bastard. One day instant karma’s going to get you. Swiftly, suddenly, without warning she’s going to bite your balls off. Oh, look at these lovely canned tomatoes. Did I can them properly last year? Oh well.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Dearie me Pam! Are those tomatoes plum tomatoes by any chance? I wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of your character. Could be a bit of a Bobbet moment going on there!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

LOL Amanda. Um, no they're beefsteak. ;)

I love reading true crime, and I keep my husband on his toes by leaving those novels laying around when I'm irritated. :D ROFL!

Thanks for a very fun challenge. :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

You're very welcome! (Beefsteak, eh?)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I am a psychopath. I kill for fun. I rule your home. And I am going to kill now, and pretend I do it for your benefit.

I enjoy your dilemma. I adore watching you trying to contain your disgust.

Will you say "good kitty!" when I lay the mouse at your feet?


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Fantastic LG! There's nothing like a good twist in the last few lines. And I really didn't see it coming, which was great!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Wow Amanda - great idea and it seems to have inspired some great stuff! I'm in - tomorrow - watched too much tennis today on TV and the words aren't flowing :D


LisaStar profile image

LisaStar 7 years ago from New England

Here's my attempt at this great idea!

Off to College: 

She couldn’t control the tears. Didn’t he just sprout his first tooth? Only last week wasn’t he in braces? Just yesterday hadn’t he graduated high school? As she drove away and watched him shrink in the distance, she knew it was time for him to grow, and for her to let go.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Oh Lisa, I like that. And you even titled yours. Hmmm, I guess the title of mine would be "Bastard." ;)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Shalini,

I wish had watched tennis today. Instead I took the kids ice-skating and I've just come back from casualty with a suspected wrist fracture! Oh well. I should know better at my age!

Hi Lisa

That was really poignant. I know that feeling so well. My ten year old is nearly as tall as me now, and I keep looking at him and wondering how that happened so quickly.

Pam, 'Bastard' would be a great title, maybe even with an exclamation mark added!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

OH NO! I hope it isn't fractured. :( How brave you are. I never could ice skate. Good for you! Now go get that wrist looked at!

LOL, yes Amanda, it definitely should have an exclamation mark. When my son was little he called those "excitement marks." :D


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Pam I just got back from casualty (do you call it ER?) They x-rayed but couldn't see an obvious fracture, but they want me to go back to the fracture clinic on Tuesday because they're not happy with it. As to the skating, I used to be a regular on the ice twenty years ago, so I'm still vaguely competent even though it's been a while, but that didn't stop me getting taken out by a wobbly over-confident teen! That'll teach me!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Ouch! Hope the fracture clinic can sort it out.

Looking on the bright side, given some of the hubs we've both commented on recently, at least it won't break the bank as well as your bones.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

LG

I have to admit, that thought did cross my mind!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Hi Amanda - I hope that there is nothing too desperate going on with your wrist - TG for for your National health, at least there will be no insults added to your injury...still haven't tried out the 60 word story but have certainly read some good ones here this morning!...cheers


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for your good wishes ajcor, and as you say, thank goodness for the NHS. If I'd been in the same situation as many of our fellow hubbers I might have been tempted to strap it up at home and hope for the best!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

i agree - our medicare is pretty good in comparison i have to say... go well


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Hi Amanda - do hope your wrist gets better soon! And ice skating - wow I'm impressed!

Here's one:

Don’t, she silently pleaded. I don’t really want to know. Of course, there was no way she was going to say it out loud. He just wouldn’t understand. Inside her head however, the words screeched out, begging, imploring. 

“Got the new contract!” 

She stilled the mind storm, put on a resigned smile and prepared herself, as always, to listen.


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

Hi Amanda, I like the idea of the twists at the end. It the suprises there that get me. This is a great idea. I'll have a ponder and come back. Although what do you think, are they better written on the spot?? :-)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Shalini,

I've woken up to a white, white world, and the children's schools are closed (It's the first heavy snowfall here in the South for 13 years) so I've not got to make the trip to school with the younger one. My wrist is sore, but I'm sure it will be fine quite quickly.

Your story is a quiet drama. It leaves the reader with lots of questions. What kind of contract? Is he a hitman, an oilman, or a computer programmer? Why does she fear the contract? Is she afraid for him, or afraid for herself? It's a bit of a teaser, but very intriguing.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Lifebydesign,

No, please ponder! Ideas come in a flash, but they nearly always (in my experience LOL!) need a liitle fine tuning. There's some great stories coming along here, and I'm enjoying reading them.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Would you believe I didn't think of all those possibilities? Wow - thanks for adding a new dimension :)

Here's to your wrist getting absolutely OK - and to enjoying all that snow. We're into February when it should be cool and it's turning warm :(


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

The weather has been upside down here for a good few years. I can't remember the last time we had a proper summer, but the snow is a return to some kind of normality. We always had a few weeks of snow each winter right up to the 90s. Now all we need is some sunshine in July and August and I'll stop worrying about global warming! (Well for 5 minutes anyway)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a beautiful Princess. The Princess was very nice and polite except for one detail. When her daddy, the King, who was old and tired, finished her bed time story, she would insist on a second story. That is why the King wrote this story. Sweet dreams. The End.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Tom,

I well remember my two when they were little, demanding story after story, and I sympathise with the old King. That's a great nano novel. I like it very much.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

Great idea!! Hmmmm..now let me think of what my 60 word story shall be about. Hmmmm.....


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Poetryman69

I just realised that I didn't respond to your earlier post. Many apologies, and thank you for your poignant and poetic short story. If only we could find some really clean water to wash the world's travails away!

Hi Dorsi

Good to see you here. Looking forward to your story....


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi Amanda!  I haven't forgotten about this, in fact the Dublin stay made me think of it more!  I'm posting 60 here, but still pondering about a hub with 60 word stories, commentary –60 word whatever!! :-) Here goes, an open ended 60 word cosideration!

================

Meekness and Civilization: What would happen if we all stopped acting as if we cared about anything that wasn't ours, and started behaving as if civilization hadn't tamed the beasts that we really are? What would happen if we all stopped investing efforts into anything, except the surviving business, without caring one bit about the needs of our fellow humans?


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Elena, I'm not sure this qualifies as a nano'novel' as such, but it certainly poses one heck of an interesting question. If the trappings of civilisation were to be stripped away, would it expose the savages struggling for survival hidden beneath? If the recession turns into a depression, and then things deteriorate even further from there we might just find out, but I'm hoping it never comes to that!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

I think it doens't qualify as anything more than a big open ended question, Amanda, but isn't it a question that makes one think? :-)  Working on that 60 word hub here!  Let's see if we get to anything!! :-)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Good luck with that Elena!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Checking in after a week where my eldest was sued for giving only four months notice to a summer job, my husband was laid off, my youngest daughter's best friend's mother went back into the hospital and probably won't be getting out as the cancer has returned, and I fell into the deep end of 50.  That's Earth School!

There's my 60 for today!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

That sounds like a seriously bad week! It can surely only get better from here? Life sometimes does this, doesn't it. It's like a cascade effect. But hopefully things will look a little brighter soon. I truly hope so.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Shesh, Storyteller, I do hope that's a story you told and not the real thing! So much grief in only 60!!

Amanda, just to link it up so that I'm not taken for a big mouth and nothing else with my first comment on this hub :-) Took me two weeks, but I finally got down to it and managed a little 60 word stories hub!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

She'd been faithful for two years, never missing a day. They'd come to rely on her punctuality, a comforting anchor in a sea of paper. Nine-thirty sharp. More than a convenience, her visits became an expectation. Just last Christmas they learned her name. And now she was leaving. Said she'd found a route closer to home. Cheryl, we'll miss you!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Amanda, this is such a fun idea. The kind of hub one is drawn to again and again (like Rockinjoes 2009 Celebrity Dead Pool -- but obviously much more creative!).

Here's another attempt:

In his heart, Harold knew better than to ask. But he just couldn't quell the excitement he felt inside. "Please, Joan? For me? It's only once a year." She did want to please him. But the memory of their last attempt made her gag. She relented, then forcefully regretted it ... all over his lap, 15 seconds after the ride started.


cindyschulson profile image

cindyschulson 7 years ago from San Diego, CA

What a great idea... here is my contribution

"You're not the boss of me" shouted the six year old. His outraged mother sent him to his room. After much crying and screaming, all went quiet. The boy's mother peeked in his room and found him asleep, innocent again. She lay beside him and dreamt of the baby he was no longer, and the man he would become.


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

I'll have to return to do it as 60 words often take me 30mins.

Great idea though.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

The talkers couldn't hear them, but I could. The screaming. The long, agonizing wails and the cracking noises as their bones broke like brittle. Why did they do that to themselves? The talkers put the implements out and the sneakers walked right into them. It was all "good morning" and "nice day, eh?" and then snap! They sure liked cheese.

(60 words)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Elena,

Thanks for placing the link in your new hub. As you can see, you've generated quite a flurry of interest in a hub that had gone a little quiet! I'm busy thinking of a 60 word rant to post on your hub. I shall be over later, so get the cyber-kettle on! LOL!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Mighty Mom,

I loved both of your nano-novels, but the second one had me creasing up with laughter. That's so funny, you really caught me out there! Just goes to show what a naughty imagination I have! LOL!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Cindy

This is so poignant, and so real! 'You're not the boss of me!' is exactly what my ten-year old is forever saying when I ask him to do things like brush his hair, tidy his room and so. It makes me smile every time he says it, which is probably not the desired effect! And yes, I know that feeling when I look at his blonde curls on the pillow and remember the chubby little baby he once was, and know that very soon he'll be towering above me and making his way in the world!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Benson,

You're not alone! 60 words can sometimes be more of a challenge than 100!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Chris, What can I say? You've nailed this in your own inimitable style! They sure like cheese! LOL! Those poor mice. My sister had mice in her garage once, and she left out humane traps for them. Night after night she diligently checked the traps, and night after night the mice remained at liberty. Eventually she gave up checking, then after a week or so remembered again, only to find a poor little mouse stiff with rigour mortis who had starved to death in her so-called humane trap!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi Amanda! I've updated my hub with 4 additional little rants! :-) Happy V day ;-)


shafiq-bin-alamee profile image

shafiq-bin-alamee 7 years ago from saudi arab jeddah

DelightfulYour sentiment is ur love,your love is ur heart,your heart is ur spouse,your spouse is ur future,your future is ur destiny,your destiny is ambition,your ambition is ur aspiration,your aspiration is ur motivation,your motivation is ur believe,your believe is ur peace,your peace is ur target,your target is heaven ..Allah succeed u in ur life here and hereafter


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Thank you for coming by Shafiq-bin-alamee. A very poetic piece of writing.


online_business profile image

online_business 7 years ago

Nice pics


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for stopping by online_business.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

He looked her in the eye

decided he would buy.

He felt her tits played a bit

kissed her on the mouth.

She took him in with raincoat bare

and soon he was out.

He down went lower to feast on her

and she was hotly moaning so.

Come to my darling in my quiver

let your peircing arrow go.

Oh this is fun!


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

Here I am finally, adapting something I wrote at 100 words elsewhere using a byline:

She looked tired and walked slowly. She was thinking, apparent from the far-away look in her eyes. I wanted to greet her and throw her a good line. I wanted her. I never did. I cursed my lack of words. I cursed my inactivity. I cursed my fate, that of a lamp-post with an inappropriate yearning for love.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Curses Benson! good one


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi C.C. and Benson,

You guys have been busy!

C.C. So much passion and suggestion in so few words! Piercing arrows and quivers! You are the master of the metaphor!

Benson, Poor lamp-post with it's inappropriate yearning! I think we all feel like that sometimes. Nice one.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

LOL! Of course Elena would have gotten here first. That is totally up her ally. And here I thought I had a find for her, LOL. I'm all tapped out of creativeness for the day, but I loved the 60 words pieces here! Love the hub. And thanks to Lita Sorensen too!

I LOVE that top photo by the way!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Frieda,

Elena did a great follow-up hub of 60-word rants which is also worth checking out. I hope you get a chance to join in the fun at some point. I shall look out for your nano novel!


J-StaR 6 years ago

Though tattered as he was, his face eclipsed all thought in my mind, reality seemed like a mere fleeting illusion when he was present. He seemed to emit an aura of light, a beacon of hope. A beacon of hope in a dark hell of the mind. They understood how we thought, which was the most frightening thing of all.


J-StaR 6 years ago

I couldn't look her in the eye, she was boring down on me. I could feel her eyes on the side of my head. As I talked to her I realised, it was those damn blue eyes. That's what I hated most about her. Her eyes saw to the very back of my soul. It was, the power of Clairvoyancy.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi J-StaR, thanks for posting your micro stories here. I can see you have a great imagination!


mebeth profile image

mebeth 4 years ago from Connecticut

Hi, Amanda,

These are great!

Your hub popped up after I posted my own mini-story challenge, the one-sentence story: http://hubpages.com/literature/Writing-Challenge-O...

Hop on over and add a few! :)

Beth


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for stopping by Beth. I'll certainly take a look at your mini-stories.

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